I haven't been on site much for a while. As some may know, hand issues have reduced my practise time and playing proficiency.

As a diversion - with little knowledge and even fewer skills - I began making banjos a few years ago, starting with less demanding minstrel styles.

Just finished making my first classic era banjo and thought I'd share a few pics. African mahogany, one piece neck; design inspired by the few known c. 1881 Fairbanks & Cole triangle inlaid banjos. Rickard half spun electric rim assembly, with added embellishments. 


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I like the triangle inlays.

Well done!!

That is stunning Shawn!

Marc & Joel : Thanks for the kind words.

I just looked at it again.

Reminds me strongly of Mr. Wm. Talley's work. Balanced, tasteful. I'll bet she sings!

I keep in touch with Bill and will be sending him pics.

It intonates well and is easy to play. The Electric style rim really enhances tone and projection. Standard luthier supply fbd. scale length of 26 3/16" (same as Gibson), places the bridge well above the third point of the rim, giving it a punchy bass.

Did someone mention the word "Perfectionist"?

Your artistic touch, skill and patience (oh, and photographic skills) amaze me. That is one beautiful banjo.

Coming from the man who has skillfully crafted the perfect classic banjo site, that is taken as high praise indeed. Many thanks.

Absolutely stunning banjo! I really like the shape of the headstock. Haven't seen that before (which doesn't say much...). Is it your own design? And really handsome inlays!

Did you consider another tailpiece? Not that there's anything wrong with a no-knot (if that's what it is?)

Oh, and I would really be interested to see some of your minstrel banjos, although this is the wrong forum for it...

Hi Par

The narrow waisted headstock shape and triangle inlay theme are seen on a few early Fairbanks & Cole banjos in Bill Michal's collection. For photos, go here :




I considered making my own ebony tailpiece, in keeping with the c. 1890 look, but opted for a repro cammed no-knot for convenience.

I'll upload some minstrel banjo pics in a separate reply.

Boucher Double Ogee in curly maple :

My take on the Sweeney banjo, in walnut :

My take on an English banjo in the Tsumura Collection :

Inspired by the whalebone banjo on exhibit in the whaling museum in New England (rock maple) :

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